Suit of the Week: Hobbs London

red tweed skirt suit  For busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

I really like the fact that Bloomingdale’s carries British brand Hobbs – there are so few stores in the US it’s great to have a work-appropriate, often machine washable workwear brand more readily available. This red tweed suit looks great (despite the fact that the skirt looks mighty short — I’m hoping that’s a super tall model…). The color is more wintry than festive, and I think you could wear both the dress, blazer, and skirt (if you dare) as separates as well — in fact, the dress is pretty awesome by itself. The jacket (Florrie Piped Jacket) is $375, and the dress (Florrie Textured Ribbon-Detail Dress) is $325.

Looking for a plus size option? Talbots has several suiting options in a deep burgundy, and this “glazed tweed” jacket is an interesting option as a separate.

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  1. Gift Exchange :

    Need white elephant gift exchange ideas…
    Budget: $20-30
    Ages 16-75
    No alcohol
    No gag gifts

    • Anonymous :

      black leather gloves
      set of thank you cards
      fancy herb set
      fancy oil/salt set
      contigo travel mug

      • Wildkitten :

        Travel mug seems great!

        • Anonymous :

          Travel Mug + Coffee Gift Card was a great gift I got in an exchange one year

        • Anony Mouse :

          Yes, even better if you add tea, coffee or cocoa!

          • Anonymous :

            Or a box of donuts! One of the best (most stolen) gifts at a white elephant I attended had an accompanying box of Krispy Kremes. Everyone kept threatening to eat one while they were in possession to try and prevent stealing.

    • Yeti Rambler Colster, Atlas Obscura book, Penzey’s Spices box, Swell water bottles (the Target brand is within your budget), scratch off tickets, travel battery chargers

      People LOVE lottery tickets at white elephants

    • Fancy trail mixes with chocolate from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Any of the fun holiday candy/cookies/other treats from Trader Joe’s.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Interesting socks/slippers (can be unisex)
      Peculiar Xmas ornaments (this is def. dependent on audience. once some KISS ornaments were a huge hit)
      Olive oil mister + small bottle of nice oil
      One of those lemon squishers that turns lemons inside out (and also maybe some cute glasses?)
      Gift wrapping kit (if early enough in the season: wrapping paper, bags, scissors, bows, tape…)

    • Anonymous :

      portable charger is always the most popular thing at our office party

    • I’m doing fun board games for an upcoming White Elephant! (Think: Taboo, Exploding Kittens, Scrabble, etc.)

      • Anonymous :

        +1. If you need something small, I like the game Set or Fluxx (both are special decks of cards).

    • Never too many shoes... :

      S’Well bottle. And know your audience but the most popular gift exchange ever was a crisp $20 in a tiny envelope.

    • If this is an exchange through work or with other professional ladies, then check out the gift guide that I posted on my blog today! Lots of ideas to simplify and beautify the corporate work day.

      Good luck!

    • Board game? Apples to Apples anniversary edition is nice.

  2. Legal Aid Lawyer :

    This was my only keeper from a recent Trunk Club box. I really like the idea of wearing it for holiday party events, but I’m not sure how to style it. Please help! Link to follow.

    • Legal Aid Lawyer :

  3. Sciatica? :

    DH was just told he has sciatica, but no specific cause showed up on x-ray or mri. Has anyone lived with or treated an issue like that? Physical therapist says to stop daily walks and biweekly yoga, which doesn’t make sense to me, because DH complains most when he has been inactive (long trips, etc).
    Just looking for perspective, because I’ve never dealt with it, and neither has anyone else in my immediate circle. TIA.

    • Diana Barry :

      Hmm. He might need a new PT. My DH had sciatica and after about 2 months of PT he was much better. He did find he had to change his standing posture – he tended to stick his bum out instead of tucking his pelvis under, and from doing the latter he experienced a lot of improvement.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to a new PT. I had sciatica when pregnant and PT specifically encouraged walking as a neutral pelvis exercise. Yoga can aggravate in certain positions but I got specific advice from my PT on what types of motions to avoid and discussed with my yoga teacher which poses I needed alternatives for. PT should give him a series of exercises to do at home.

        • Anonymous :

          PT totally helped my mom who had severe sciatica, but she had to get the correct therapist, who specialized in sciatica. Now she prevents it by doing certain exercises. also, she’s been advised inactivity is not good for sciatica. I had one bout, and once I took a prescription anti-inflammatory for a couple of days, it disappeared.

    • Back Pain :

      Disclaimer: Friend’s opinions. I do not have this condition.

      I have a few friends with sciatica who do Crossfit and similar high intensity workouts who have expressed that not being active is how they have reoccurring flare ups. Most of them found CF through their back pain (sounds really strange, but strengthening the core made a day and night difference for them) and then proceeded to get PT/docs/chiropractors who were okay with movement as a course of treatment.

      DH was having serious back spasms after years of baseball and that’s actually how we found CF and other high intensity workouts. He was able to ditch the meds and will only occasionally have flare ups (when he is inactive). Obviously, not my condition and not something I’ve experience personally, but my general group of friends/gym acquaintances familiar with it report decrease in pain/symptoms due to core strength/functional movement.

    • Did the PT stay to stop forever, or just for now?

      I have had sciatic issues in the past, mostly minor but twice that left me basically bedridden. It’s now under control thanks to a real dedication to exercising regularly AND lots of stretching, including with a stretching coach. (Life-changing for me: a stretching strap that allows me to really stretch my hamstrings and glutes.)

      However, I will say that stretching does NOT help much when it’s already really flared up/aggravated. Then I have to rely on painkillers and rest (usually for few days to a week) to get it to the point where it’s calm enough to work with. So, perhaps his PT wants to sort of get it under control first and then figure out what’s the most appropriate course of action from there.

      • Sciatica? :

        Thanks, that’s very helpful to know. DH is not great about relaying information to me (sometimes I think he’s not good at listening during the appts) because his family of origins never discusses health. So perhaps that is the bigger picture.

    • Anonymous :

      Ditto the new PT recs. I have this (sciatic pain but no disc problems, inactivity can make it worse). Took me multiple PTs before I found one who could help me. Have him keep trying!

    • Sciatica? :

      Thanks for all the responses already–I am always quick to look for a new dr, so I’ll definitely keep that in mind!

    • PT recommendation to stop activity seems ill-advised. Motion is lotion in most cases. If your husband cannot tolerate traditional PT, aqua therapy may be an option. Yoga / tai chi can certainly be beneficial; consult a PT with experience in yoga or a yoga instructor who’s educated in anatomy – some poses may actually provide relief (pigeon pose). Sciatica can take a long time to get better and the chance of recurrence is high.

      Advise looking at condition of your husband’s shoes – uneven tread wear? Nonexistent cushioning?

      Run the course with your primary care physician. If he isn’t better in 8 weeks (with PT) or so, ask for a referral to a spine clinic or orthopedist who does spine cases.

    • SillyValley :

      From what I’ve learned sciatica can be caused either by a bulging disc, or by tightness in the hip (specifically usually the iliopsoas area). If he doesn’t have any pain above the waist, it is likely the latter, which is good news in a way because stretching, strengthening and improving dysfunctional movement patterns will help a lot. I agree with AnonZ, though, when mine is really flaring up I have to slow down and take things easy until the worst passes. A PT or experienced yoga teacher should have some good suggestions, and there are lots of videos on YouTube etc that might point him in the right direction.

  4. How do you address a mistake at work when there’s nothing that can be done about it? A coworker recently asked me about a mistake I made that I didn’t know about. While it wasn’t the most major thing, it’s something that absolutely cannot be fixed. My response was “I looked into it, and yes, I messed that up. I’m really sorry about it and I’ll do x, y, z to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” The coworker, who is senior to me but not my boss, gave me to a lecture about being careful and paying attention to details, which he believed was the reason for the error.
    Is there a better response to someone else pointing out a mistake you weren’t aware of? Or was this the best I could do under the circumstances?

    • Sadly, no. If this co-worker were still bringing it up months later, you could say, “I know, I’ve made changes etc etc and haven’t had issues; I’m not sure why you’re mentioning this.” But if it happened recently, part of taking your lumps for the mistake is listening to people lecture you about it. There’s no magical gracious response that will make people who are senior to you just ignore your mistakes.

    • Anonymous :

      Wasn’t it? I mean, wasn’t the reason for the mistake that you didn’t pay good enough attention to not make it? That’s what happens. You apologize; they scold; everyone moves on.

  5. Biglaw junior :

    Is it appropriate to give holiday gifts to paralegals you have worked closely with? I have a few paralegals who are amazing and I’d like to thank them but unsure if it’s ok to gift or what to gift. My firm has a culture of attorneys giving cash bonuses to secretaries but not paralegals – I was thinking something like chocolates or a gift card?

    • Current Floridian :

      I usually give case to my assistant, then small gift cards with a food gift to a few select paralegals who have been on my cases over the past year.

    • Yes. It is. Not everyone does it, but paralegals are very much staff, and I promise you, as a longtime paralegal, that if you took the time to get me a small gift, when I have 20 things to do in a day, your stuff will naturally go higher up my list because you are kind to me. That’s how it works. It will be very appreciated.

    • Anonymous :

      I may ask this tomorrow, but it it really necessary to give the standard tip to your biglaw secretary if she is useless? Mine leaves early, calls in sick like every other Friday at the last minute (often without informing her attorneys), and is incredibly slow to respond to my calls and emails. Trust me, it’s not because she’s too busy. I essentially only ask her to do my expenses, because she is a liability and too slow to do anything else. I’m going out o n mat leave soon, otherwise I would have asked for a new secretary by now. There are so many people in my life who actually go the extra mile and make life easier and more pleasant for me that I’d rather spend hundreds of dollars on.

      • Anonymous :

        I asked this a few years ago and was told basically you just have to $uck it up and give the standard amount to keep the peace.

        • Anonymous :

          Oh, and that’s what I did, fwiw. My secretary wasn’t quite as bad as yours it sounds like, but she was definitely lazy and unhelpful and I rarely gave her any time sensitive work.

          • Anonymous :

            Yeah, that’s my understanding. On the to-do list for when I get back from mat leave: grow a backbone and ask for a new secretary. The only reason I can fathom that she is still employed is that there are enough people around like me without a backbone that she can be assigned to without pushback.

    • Anonymous :

      I think so. I used to be a paralegal, and one (female) partner I’d been working closely with gave me a gift card to a nail salon. It was very thoughtful, I appreciated it immensely, and I probably worked harder for her and prioritized her work after that. I still appreciate it 10 years later. It wasn’t just about the $25 gift card–it was nice to have someone recognize my work and give me something when all the secretaries received large cash gifts.

  6. Paging Canadians :

    I am in Canada for a short trip and found out that Canadian Black Friday sales start this week: tomorrow!!?? Can I get le Candienne or Henri Pierre boots on a deal? What are some good places to shop for deals? Heard about a gala at LaBae(sp?). I am in MTL. Please tell me all the tips! TIA!

    • BabyAssociate :

      Where did you get this information? Black Friday isn’t nearly as much of a “thing” in Canada as it is in the US (Canadian Thanksgiving is in October). I suppose you could check Holt Renfrew, but I doubt they’ll have any substantial Black Friday sales.

      • Black Friday is much less of a big deal in Canada, but it is starting. The La Canadienne flagship store is in Montreal (in Mile End I think?) If there are any sales for those boots, it would be there.

  7. Anonymous :

    I recently lateraled to a biglaw firm in NYC. I’d like to bring my plants in, and I’d like to buy a few other things for my office (bookends, a humidifier, etc.). How long should I wait before doing so? I don’t want to have a perfectly set up office on day 2. FWIW, other people have a significant amount of personal stuff (decor) in their offices (and I saw one humidifier).

    • Can you bring it in slowly? One or two items at a time? I would not blink an eye at a humidifier, but I might if someone brought in a whole set of beautiful and coordinated artwork on day 2.

      Also, are your plants consistent with the rest of the office? We have office plants (plants the firm maintains), and a few people have small plants in their office, but if there were big plants in someone’s office that were clearly not firm plants, I might notice.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m mid-law, not biglaw, but I think it’s really a personal decision. I’ve seen laterals that move in furniture (even when basic furniture is provided), massive artwork, and all kinds of random personal effects the weekend before they start. Most others tend to bring it in slowly. I’d say so long as you’re moving things in that general keep with the office culture, I’d just do it the first opportunity you have. No reason not to be comfortable and settle in.

    • I agree with the other OP’s. Do it but slowly. You don’t want people to think that you are more interested in DECOR then you are in working on your LEGAL work. I think if you bring in 1 plant in about a week, that would be fine, but NOT a cactus, b/c people feel you may want to stick them with your work with a cactus. Dad says do NOT bring in Sucullent’s, and just bring in a spider plant. I agree. Dad says plants say a lot about you, YAY!!!

  8. Linda from HR :

    Got a grumpy grumble . . .

    The workday officially ends at 5 where I work. A lot of people go home, some people stick around and work on important stuff, and some people figure “hey, the workday is over, we can just hang out” and they go to this or that office and just chat, only the chatter gets louder and louder and people eventually just HOOOWL with laughter. Look, I get it, the workday is over FOR YOU, and you want to blow off steam now, but if it’s time to blow off steam, take it to the bar next door because the people who are still here working are really trying to focus so we can finish up and get home in time for dinner.

  9. Sloan Sabbith :

    I am hospitalized right now for a chronic illness flare up. There are a number of normal annoyances but what is about to make me go insane is that the woman next door is kind of deaf and Old Macdonald is her text tone. It’s SO LOUD. And she seems to get a dozen or more texts per hour. I’m. Going. To. Scream. I am going insane. I can hear it with the door shut. I can hear it with the TV on. I can hear it with my HEADPHONES IN. I AM GOING INSANE.

    • This is like a horror story. Hang in there! If someone visits you, maybe get them to ask her to put it on vibrate “for the night”? Hospitals are noisy enough without blaring cell phone alerts.

      I hope you get some rest!

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I’m sleep deprived and in a ton of pain. I’m hoping I can just get knocked out again sooner rather than later. My nurse said she can’t make her turn it off. ???

        • Sorry you’re in pain and hope you get rest and feel better soon.

          That seems ridiculous that the nurse can’t make her turn it off if it is interrupting a patient’s sleep. Ask her to ask the charge nurse?

    • I am so sorry you’re in the hospital. Hope you get sprung soon.

    • S in Chicago :

      You have officially discovered a new circle of hell! I am so sorry. That sounds straight out of a bad movie.

      If you’re not sprung, hopefully SHE is soon. I’d start making a game of it. Each new ring, I’d picture some new animal in my mind and see how big Noah’s Ark can get until the floods finally comes to take them all away. Maybe go by alphabet….? First animal begins with A Next ring B animal.

      I’m so sorry you have to deal with that. I hope you can get some rest and feel more comfortable soon. (Who the heck picks Old McDonald?!? )

    • Ask to change rooms. I’ve done it. I was first in a noisy room by the nurses station. When my nurse checked on me and asked what I needed, I explained I was exhausted and needed to sleep if I was ever going to get better. I was in a quiet room in minutes.

    • HUGS to you, Sloan! I hope you get better soon b/c you have smart advise for the HIVE and you are wize beyond your years. As for your neighbor, FOOEY on her! She should be more considerate since you at in a HOSPITAL. Tell the nurse that you need for her to silence her phone or put it on MUTE! DOUBEL FOOEY!

  10. Hobbs: Gorgeous clothing, but warning – it runs really small, even with the translation from British to US sizes. I had to go up 2 extra sizes.

  11. My friend has been working as a medical researcher for 14 months now, and has a colleague with the same job title who joined the company 4 months before her. In September 2017, they both joined the same team inside the same company.

    Since then, she feels like every important, interesting, “good” project is assigned to her colleague, while she’s left collecting scraps and getting no recognition or opportunities. When she brought it up to her manager, they told her “we like her way of thinking better”, without expanding on the comment, and “we need someone with experience in the field”. They are both young graduates, but my friend has a 6-month full-time internship in said field while her colleague has none, so there is no solid ground to this argument.

    This has increased her imposter syndrome, and she suffers a lot from the lack of trust. She feels like she can’t make the situation better, since she can’t have a larger-scale project and therefore show that she can manage it, gaining their trust.

    My friend is starting to really feel the weight of this favoritism, and she has no idea how to make it better. Would you all have any idea how she can finally prove her worth and get better projects?

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